You are embarking on a journey to create the app of your dreams. You’ve done some research on what it takes. You don’t have the coding skills to make it happen. You have a limited budget, and you don’t want to ship it overseas because you know deep down the horror stories are true.
The problem is, the app development companies in your area are charging six-figures for an app.
This post aims to guide you in lowering your cost significantly so that you can have your app and still eat too. What are some of the ways you can reduce your app development costs? Let’s dive right in!
Clarify Your Idea
I know you’ve dreamed up the next big thing, but just take a deep breath and relax because you still have a little time before you’re sailing away on your yacht to celebrate the sale of your big idea. This is especially true if you are wishing to deliver a valuable app on a budget. Simplifying your idea means being able to simply answer these questions:
What problem are you solving with this app?
Who are you solving the problem for?
When I hear from starry-eyed entrepreneurs and marketing departments, they are often working on a tight budget which means getting this first step right is the difference between delivering value and not.
If you can clearly state the problem, you are going to solve, and you know who you will be building the app for, you will have already saved yourself thousands of dollars.
Wireframe Your App
Wire-framing is the next critical step to lowering the cost of app development. If you aren’t familiar with wire-framing, all you have to do is sit down and draw a sketch of your entire app’s experience, adding notes to each drawing to explain what should happen. It’s not critical to get all fancy with it. You can do this on a piece of notebook paper, or if you have the skills, could use cool tools like Sketch and Photoshop.
How does this lower your app development costs? Glad you asked! When you can approach a development company with a clear idea of what you want and what the app must do, you remove a lot of the ambiguity about what needs to be delivered.
When you provide clarity on what needs to be released, you will receive a more accurate estimate of development costs and timeline. This will be nice to know because most apps go over budget and are presented past your deadline. Help yourself save some money and a lot of frustration by wire-framing.
Design Your App
When you see your app on a phone for the first time, you will look at it like it’s your baby. That’s not to say that your app is good, though. Like a parent with a newborn, nobody wants to admit their baby is ugly and likewise, nobody wants an ugly baby.
In the world of app development, the design takes time. So when you go and talk to your development company for the first time, with demand for ease of use, speedy response times and award winning designs, you should recognize that this takes time.
That’s not to say you can’t lower the cost of design for your app because you can. Start by taking some inspiration from Step 1 and simplify. The simpler your design, the less time needed to get that perfect shadow or custom transition. One way to simplify your design is to decide on using Native User Interface Elements, like stock headers, scrolling, tab navigation, and sliders.
You can always go in and change colors, but if you’re hoping to build highly customized interactive experiences, you should expect to pay over 30K.
Focus on a Single Platform
Ok, you’ve chosen to take the much more affordable route for your app design by selecting to go native. You feel like you are getting closer to releasing your world-changing app idea.
But wait, there are a ton of different devices available to your customers.
Which one will you choose?
If you want to stay on budget, don’t say all of them. I know…YOU HAVE TO build for Android, iPhone, and The Web, but your budget says otherwise.
Choosing one device seems complicated, but I’ll make it easy for you if you will just answer this question,
What device does your ideal customer use most?
If you are your ideal customer, then you know what choice you need to make. You can also take a look at the current device market share to see percentages of people with each mobile device.
Stick to Your Decisions
This final step may seem a little philosophical, and you can do as you please, but I only development apps for a living so what do I know?
The number one reason your app will go over budget has everything to do with you and your commitment to a price range and vision upfront.
It’s going to be scary seeing your app built without all of the features you dreamed. There will be things that are nice to have or devices you need to ship on before anything hits the stores.
These beliefs are irrational because when you release your app, you will experience the joy of receiving feedback from your customers, who can help you decide on the nice to haves for future builds.
App Development is a process that starts with you and ends with steadily building better versions for your customers. By living with the decision to focus on solving a core problem, crystallizing your vision, simplifying your design and building for a single device, you will see your app cost dramatically decrease.
If you decide to live by these rules, I promise you will get to market faster, at a lower cost, giving you the feedback and leftover resources to listen to your customers and make the app even better.
Are there any other ways you can think of saving money on app development? Did you totally disagree with what I said? Please let me know in the comments below.